This is a message from the Secretary/Treasurer of the Mounted Police Members’ Legal Fund (Legal Fund) to all members and potential members of the Legal Fund.
Within the past few weeks it has come to my attention that many members have received incorrect and misleading information with respect to the operation of the Legal Fund and the administration of the funds entrusted to it by the membership.
I am a retired member or the RCMP and not a member of the Legal Fund. I have however been associated with the Legal Fund since its inception in 1997 and consider I know as much about it as anyone can. As the Treasurer I must prepare for the yearly audit by Deloitte Touche ensuring that the funds were properly spent and accounted for according to the Letters Patent and
Bylaws of the Corporation. As the Secretary I am responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of files generated by hundreds of requests for assistance that Legal Fund members have submitted and have been handled by the Legal Fund Directors over the years of its existence.
With over 17,000 members enrolled in the Legal Fund it is difficult to please everyone whether a particular request is approved or rejected. The incorrect and misleading information being disseminated to members appears to focus on one project instead of informing members of the many other matters that have been handled for the well being of individuals as well as the general membership and indeed, the total membership of the Force. The issue being publicized appears to be the Legal Fund’s position as an Intervener in the MPAO . The Legal Fund is a private, not for profit Corporation started and administered by Directors who are either Staff Relations
Representatives or Sub/Representatives elected by you to handle your affairs, however it is completely separate from the SRR Program and the Force.
Why then did the Legal Fund become involved as an Intervener in the MPAO?
In 2006 legal action was undertaken in the Ontario Superior Court by the MPAO and the BCMPPA. In striking down Section 96 of the RCMP Regulations, which recognizes the Staff Relations Representatives, the Ontario Superior Court on April 6, 2009 concluded that the RCMP labor relations system, a system agreed to by RCMP members and in which management has a contractual obligation to deal with and respond to the collective views of democratically elected representatives, was invalid because it substantially interfered with the freedom of association of RCMP members, thus violating Section 2(d) of the Charter.
Up to this point in time the Legal Fund was not a participant in this court activity. Consistent with its objectives, the Legal Fund sought and was granted Intervener status on appeal because of the impact the decision and reasons for judgment would have on the approximately 17,000 Legal Fund members (14,000 at that time), including their welfare and the continuum of protection which the Legal Fund provides to them, and if the Legal Fund would continue to exist. It was vitally important your Legal Fund not depend on others to tell the story of your Legal Fund to the court. As interveners council for the Legal Fund was able to inform the court accurately in relation to your Legal Fund activities.
The Legal Fund had a well-informed perspective concerning what systems of labour relation relations could work and be respectful of employee’s rights in the RCMP. That perspective included the implications of the court’s decision on labor relations regimes that are not based on the traditional adversarial union versus management models. But most importantly, the Court of Appeal needed to know exactly what the Legal Fund does for members and its valuable contribution to ensure the welfare and dignity of its members were at the forefront. Legal Fund
council was successful in telling your story, its story to the Court of Appeal.
One thing the Legal Fund Directors agreed to when they established the Legal Fund was that there would be no secrets from the membership. We answer all questions received from members to the best of our ability. Most members want to know what we are spending their money on and whether there is a yearly audit. These questions are fairly simple to answer. Each month three financial statements are produced:
1. Statement showing funds received from each Division for each month of the current year as a result of pay deductions and the monthly interest received on funds in the bank account.
2. Statement of funds received for the current month as a result of pay deductions, interest and awards from court proceedings where we have won. This statement also shows where the funds were spent, for what and on whom.
3. Statement showing complete general list of funds received by the Legal Fund from a number of sources since inception in 1997 (Pay Deductions, Interest, Donations, Court Awards) and a complete general list of where the funds were spent (Legal Fees, Postage, Telephone/Fax, Consulting, Printing, Office Supplies, etc. etc.) While I would like to share with you the names of the many members that have come to the Legal Fund for assistance, as I said, because of the confidential nature I can’t, however if you go to www.mplegalfund.com and check the Newsletters there are many examples where the members have given us permission to tell their story or use their names.
Nationally the Legal Fund has taken on issues which have had a positive affect on all members of the RCMP, including non-members of the Legal Fund, issues such as:
Cadet’s Room and Board; Definition of Employee for newly engaged cadets; Payment of EI Premiums after 20 years of service; Pension Surplus Challenge; Taxation of Income of Aboriginal Members; Civilianization of Air Services; Lab and Fingerprint Group Pay;Taxation of Retirement Moves; Civilian Category Study (Over the years including the present, 3times); Officer (Member) Safety (Vests, No. of members in patrol cars, etc.); ETECs Pay and Benefits Shared Services; Member Compensation (Each pay negotiation since inception including the
Pay Roll Back in 2008 where we won in court but presently awaiting decision from the appeal court.); Michael Ferguson – Appeal of Conviction for Manslaughter. On duty incident. High profile case which cost the Legal Fund in excess of $200,000. The member would never have been able to afford without his membership in the Legal Fund.
Paul Shephard – Promotional exams and access to exam material after being advised of exam results (This was a fantastic win for the membership of the Force). John Hudak – Accusation of Sexual Assault (Falsely accused of Sexual Assault. Faulty investigation done by RCMP. Trial and acquittal. Complainant had made similar complaint against a police officer in the US years earlier and she was sentenced to gaol time. Civil suit against the Crown and the Province of Alberta because of damage done to Hudak and his career in ruin. Public apology given by the Province of Alberta and he received a financial settlement. Now living in B.C.). Each of the 3 above cases were reported in our Newsletters.
Emergency Response Team Overtime; Travel Directive; Intervention Ontario Superior Court – This was necessary only to protect the 17,000 (14,000) members of the Legal Fund as the court had been given incorrect information about the purpose of support given and representation to
(4)members by the Fund; RCMP Modernization Act ; Plain Clothes Allowance; Retro Cadet Pay; Resourcing Methodology Ontario Health Premiums; Challenge of RCMP Hearing Standards; Integrated Relocation Program (IRP); Long Term ODS/Leave Credits; Breach of Compensation Group Benefit Medical Entitlements; RCMP Pilot Pay; Procedural Fairness/Natural Justice; New RCMP Act , Bill C-42
Some of these we won, some we lost and some we are still working on.
We have had hundreds of requests for assistance from individual members. For the most part they seem to lend themselves to a number of common categories. I will list the most common here:
Assault ; Harassment; Defamation ; Duty to Accommodate; Promotion; Disability; Malicious Prosecution
There are many others where members have felt they have been aggrieved, have not been supported by the Force, and have been approved by a Legal Fund Division Board for assistance such as: Appropriate officer representative (AOR) conduct; Suspended without pay (SWOP); Relocation; Access to Information (ATIP); Human Rights; Denial of Legal Fees at public expense; Release of medical Information; Medical Discharge; Classification; Pension Buyback; On duty Injury; Transfer difficulties; Security Clearance; Health Problems; Refusal of RCMP to investigate criminal complaint; Constructive Dismissal; Non Payment for Standby Hours; Conflict of Interest Policy; Relapse Prevention Agreement; RCMP Housing Problems; Pension Issue; Election for Prior Service; Service Pay; Unfairness of Grievance System; Violation of Privacy; Conditional Sentence of member; Reimbursement of Mortgage Fee; Language Profile; Security clearance; Hearing loss; Protection of identity; Recognition of salary for past police experience; Abuse of process; Abuse of Authority; Election of prior service; Removal from a position; Training exercise resulting in civil suit; On duty injury; Frivolous and vexatious complaints against members; Miscarriage of justice; Wrongful death; Appeal of criminal conviction; Pension act claim for disability; Veterans affairs (VAC) appeal of claim; Slanderous comments; On call/backup; Police commission hearings; Preservation of client solicitor privilege; Refusal of Crown to pay legal fees at public expense for on duty incidents; Release of discipline file in McNeil disclosure; Private Accommodation Allowance (PAA) – member submits claim for Jan 2010, denied, grieved, adjudicator rules in favor of member in June 2011. RCMP still refuse to pay. Member seeks Legal Fund assistance. Commissioner is served with Notice to pay member by a certain date, otherwise application will be sought in Federal Court for a writ of Mandamus. Good news – July 2012- the member’s claim of $1,350.00 is
paid. Other members will now have to be addressed.
The Legal Fund has spent almost six million dollars on Legal Fees assisting members since first established in 1997. The first case was an appeal of an assault in “E” Division where two members in Nanaimo were convicted on false evidence of assault during the arrest of a drunk driver. On conviction they were sentenced to jail and had no funds for an appeal. They were members of the Legal Fund. They asked for and received assistance. Legal Fund cost $32,000. We won, and these members kept their jobs and continued to serve.
I understand that some of the incorrect information being circulated relates to the dollar amount that the Legal Fund provides for a Legal Opinion and the dollar limit it will spend to assist a member. The following question was asked by another member. “If the Legal Fund does fund you it will only be to the tune of $3,000 and this money will have to be paid back to the Legal Fund if you win your case. Is that true?”
Our answer is, “The normal process is that a Legal Opinion is sought before the commencement of any action. The Application is submitted to the Legal Fund Division Board. Each Division Board has authority to spend up to $3,000. plus GST/HST for a Legal Opinion. There are occasions however, when due to the complexity of the matter, additional funding is needed. In such case, the Executive of the Legal Fund would be asked to approve the extra amount. There is no cap on the amount of funding an applicant would be entitled to through the Legal Fund.
There is no variance between Criminal and Civil proceedings. Monies aren’t required to be paid back if the member wins. If the member loses, there is NO RISK to the member, because the
Legal Fund accepts the liability.”
Currently we have open files in B, C, D, E, F, H, HQ, J, K, L, O. T and V Divisions.
As you can see the Mounted Police Members’ Legal Fund has had tremendous successes since its inception in 1997/98 in representing all members on anything that affects their welfare and dignity. I’ve yet to receive correspondence from any member declining a benefit that has been obtained by the Legal Fund’s successes – your successes. As one member recently wrote to me, “Tell me where a member can get that type of insurance protection for $4.00 a pay. It’s the price of a coffee”.
Secretary Treasurer Mounted Police Members’ Legal Fund